Sunday 31st

A tantalising ‘small Harrier species’ passed through Worth marshes this morning whilst the male Red-footed Falcon was seen again. A late Curlew dropped in and there were two Common Sandpipers in Pegwell. These contrast with the young Little Egret also seen on Worth; autumn migration is already here folks.

Saturday 30th

The presence of at least two Red-footed Falcons (a male and female) on Worth marshes continue to be the most unusual sighting in the area. However, more important were the two Redshank young seen today. The work the RSPB has done on Lydden Valley has really changed this site for the better with lots of breeding Lapwings and a handful of breeding Redshanks. They hope to finish their work on site this autumn and by next spring we will have a wonderful wetland habitat to enjoy.

Redshank May20 SReynaert (1)
Redshanks by S.Reynaert

Friday 29th

It was similar weather to yesterday as the bright sunshine was offset by the cool north-easterly breeze. A Garganey flew over New Downs and a Honey-buzzard flew over Pegwell.

Thursday 28th

It was a pleasant enough walk around the Estate this morning but nothing out of the ordinary to show for it. A female Marsh Harrier drifted over, as did two Mediterranean Gulls and a few Swifts, whilst it was nice to see fledged birds appearing here and there with Blackcap young in The Elms and tit broods dotted around. The male Red-footed Falcon was seen a few times again on Worth marshes hawking over the Great Wood in the company of a Hobby.

Restharrow Scrape bund May20 SZW
Restharrow Scrape bund by S.Walton

Wednesday 27th

Despite the recent run of ‘rarer’ raptors i think this spring will go down as the spring of the Red Kite. There was another movement today starting around 08:30 and finishing around 11:00. During this time an incredible 46 Red Kites flew north overhead. Since 1st March we have recorded over 245 Red Kites (our previous spring record was 89) moving through the Recording Area. Scenes such as these would seem like madness ten years ago. A Siskin on the Green Wall was also interesting and suggests we may have a breeding attempt this year.

Tuesday 26th

Well Worth marshes is definitely the place to be at the moment. The male Red-footed Falcon re-appeared and the Temminck’s Stint was still around, whilst a singing Nightingale was a new (and late) arrival.

Linnet May20 JBuckingham
Linnet by J.Buckingham

Monday 25th

Despite increased coverage in the area very little new was found today. The Temminck’s Stint was still present on Worth though and Hobbies had increased to seven, but there was no sign of any Falcons with red feet. Over in Pegwell there was a Greenshank on the Garage pool.

Sunday 24th

The fine weather continues and with it some cracking birds. A Quail was flushed from the Country Park at Pegwell in the morning with an unseasonal 2cy Caspian Gull on the mud. A Spoonbill, a new male Red-footed Falcon, and another Temminck’s Stint, were all found on Worth marshes to continue it’s purple patch.

Saturday 23rd

Another good day on Worth marshes as three Spoonbills dropped into and settled on the deep pool by the Great Wood. Then, the female Red-footed Falcon put in another brief appearance.

Spoonbills May20 AML
Spoonbills by A.Lipczynski

Friday 22nd

Another 37 Red Kites drifted northwards overhead today. Barely a day goes by without at least a handful of Kites and certainly this spring has seen a record total for Sandwich Bay. With these Red Kites a solitary Black Kite was also spotted and even better later in the afternoon a female Montagu’s Harrier was seen.

Thursday 21st

Two smart Grey Plovers on Worth were probably the best of a quiet day. Mediterranean Gulls continue to be seen (and heard) flying around overhead whilst a high-flying Jay headed south over the Observatory early on; a strange time of year to be migrating?

Wednesday 20th

A stroll along Royal Cinque Port Golf Course to the Chequers and back along Mary Bax was nice in the early morning sun, before things got too hot. There were singing Corn Buntings and small flocks of recently-fledged Starlings. The daily raptor movement then began mid-morning with at least 18 Red Kites, 15 Buzzards, three Hobbies, five Kestrels, and two Marsh Harriers on show.

Mediterranean Gull May20 JBuckingham
Mediterranean Gull by J.Buckingham

Tuesday 19th

There were 12 Mediterranean Gulls hawking over the Estate in the morning. As temperatures rose so did the calibre of bird with a female Red-footed Falcon over Worth which zipped off inland over the Great Wood, followed swiftly by a Honey-buzzard which was tracked heading north along the railway line towards the Green Wall.

Monday 18th

With today’s heat it really felt like summer was upon us. With the easing of lockdown restrictions on exercising we were able to conduct the first WeBS count for a few months across New Downs, Pegwell Bay, and the Point. A Spotted Redshank was the best in Pegwell and nine Mediterranean Gulls were spread around the area. A Wheatear was on New Downs and a pair of Herring Gulls were nesting on the north pool, a first for the site (though they breed on the adjacent Discovery Park).

Reed Bunting May20 JBuckingham
Reed Bunting by J.Buckingham

Sunday 17th

The two Great Crested Grebes mentioned on Wednesday were still on New Downs and even did a little displaying to each other on the reservoir. Meanwhile there was a late Siskin on the Estate and another Honey-buzzard flew over the Green Wall in the evening.

Great Crested Grebe May20 PBlanche
Great Crested Grebes by P.Blanche

Saturday 16th

An Arctic Skua was seen offshore early in the morning and a lovely summer-plumaged Golden Plover flew low cross the Estate calling as it went. Over on Worth and a Honey-buzzard and four Red Kites flew north.

Friday 15th

For a while i thought the two lingering Barnacle Geese on Worth marshes were going to be the highlight of the day but once the thermals got going so did overhead migration with a White Stork, a Red Kite and 24 Buzzards all moving through.

Wednesday 13th

A much quieter day buffeted by strong winds. There were lots of hirundines sheltering in the lee of the Great Wood on Worth and there were two Great Crested Grebes on New Downs reservoir. For the last few years there’s been the odd sighting of them there in spring and summer but no sign of any breeding yet, presumably they’re just prospecting pairs. Later, whilst going through the night’s nocmig recording at Stonar, a Nightjar was identified calling overhead.

Tuesday 12th

Another good walk to the outer reaches of New Downs with 75 species logged. Waders were represented on the pools by Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, three Curlews, five Redshanks, three Greenshanks, one Green Sandpiper and eight Common Sandpipers. A Nightingale was singing on the Sampher and singles of Sand Martin and Wheatear were seen. A Siskin flying over was very late, perhaps it is breeding nearby? A calling Water Rail also suggests breeding activity too. A Honey-buzzard and eight Mediterranean Gulls went north whilst meanwhile on Worth marshes there were another seven Common Sandpipers, the Temminck’s Stint, and over 150 Swifts.

In light of the recent Government announcement there have been a number of queries regarding access to our reserves. The Trustees have reviewed the situation and have decided for the safety of our employees and all our members to keep all our reserves and facilities closed for the time being. Rest assured, we are monitoring the situation and will be open as soon as we can do so safely.

Sunday 10th

A Golden Oriole was in The Elms at dawn. However, the wind picked up rapidly and wasn’t noted again. Later there were tallies of 88 Swifts, 76 House Martins, and 22 Swallows, many of which were using the lee of the trees for feeding. A Coal Tit was on the Green Wall.

Saturday 9th

The fine weather continues to be good for watching the skies. A morning spent logging Red Kites ended up with a minimum of 39 individuals going north, almost a record count for Sandwich Bay, as well as an Osprey and 12 Mediterranean Gulls. Meanwhile the two Barnacle Geese (of probably dubious origin) and Temminck’s Stint were still on Worth marshes, an Egyptian Goose was on New Downs, and 15 Greenshanks were in Pegwell.

Friday 8th

There was a small arrival of waders on Worth marshes this morning with two Avocets, one Ruff, four Greenshanks, three Little Ringed Plovers, and seven Common Sandpipers, plus the two Barnacle Geese and Temminck’s Stint still present. Overhead at least 25 Red Kites went north.

Thursday 7th

Two Barnacle Geese were an odd sight on Worth marshes this morning. They quickly moved on only to return again later in the day. There was a steady passage of Red Kites overhead with at least eight individuals. However, late in the day a superb Temminck’s Stint was discovered on Worth marshes.

Wednesday 6th

Despite the bright and clear conditions there was still passage noted overhead with six Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier, a Whimbrel, 25 Swifts, three Sand Martins, and five Yellow Wagtails going over. There were seven Greenshanks and five Cuckoos on Worth, with the latter showing particularly well chasing each other around, and a Curlew Sandpiper in Pegwell.

Monday 4th

A cold north-easterly breeze produced the best sea passage for some while with 30 Bar-tailed Godwits, 18 Whimbrels, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, four Arctic Terns, two Common Terns, eight Little Terns, and a Shag. Overhead movement was good too with a Spoonbill and two Yellow Wagtails over and a steady stream of Swifts and Swallows, totalling 450 and 200 respectively. Adding to the mix were three Yellow-legged Gulls among a throng of large gulls and four Wheatears on the Estate. News from Worth marshes was also good with an exceptional arrival of 13 Turtle Doves.

Sunday 3rd

This morning saw good numbers of singing Corn Buntings, a handful of Whimbrels, a few Wheatears, and ten Cuckoos spread through the Recording Area. At the Point 59 Sanderlings were just coming into summer plumage whilst on New Downs a Garden Warbler was singing and the drake Garganey was still present.

Common Shore Crab May20 SZW
Common Shore Crab at the Point by S.Walton

Saturday 2nd

The weather continues to be very unpredictable with bright sunshine one minute and rain showers the next. Three Hobbies and 41 Swifts were fighting for airspace over Worth, where five Little Egrets also flew over heading north. An Egyptian Goose flew over the Estate and a Turtle Dove was on the Green Wall. Also of note was a Tawny Owl recorded calling overnight at the Observatory.